HR tip: Companion in disciplinary hearings

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.

Question: "Our disciplinary procedure states that a shop steward is provided to attend any formal disciplinary hearing. An employee who has been asked to attend a disciplinary hearing has objected to this and wants someone else to attend. How do we all stand?"

HR Tip: There are two issues here. First, regardless of what your disciplinary procedure may say, the employee is entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union official of his choice. The second issue depends upon the precise wording of your disciplinary procedure. If it gives the employee the right to have a shop steward present, then he has a choice, which includes refusing that right. On the other hand if the procedure says that the shop steward will be present, then you must have along both the shop steward and the employee’s chosen companion. I just hope you have enough chairs.

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